MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Country music and fans in general stood in line Thursday (Nov. 2) at Phillips Bookstore on the MTSU campus to receive autographed copies of famed musician Charlie Daniels’ book, “Never Look at Empty Seats: A Memoir.”
Daniels’ book, released Oct. 24, takes readers down the path he traveled from
post-Great Depression childhood to when he and the Charlie Daniels Band performed for millions as one of the most successful groups of all time, and what he has learned along the way.
The Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at MTSU is named for the Danielses.
Before the signing event, local Quilts of Valor quilters presented Daniels, who is a strong advocate for the military and patriotism, with a special quilt. Among his many honors was being inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.
Daniels, in turn, gave longtime Grand Ole Opry performer and Gold Star mother Jan Howard with an MTSU football jersey.
The surprised Howard also was presented a special brick by Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, that will be placed at the MTSU Military Memorial site outside the Tom H. Jackson Building Saturday, Nov. 4, during 36th annual Salute to Veterans and Armed Services at MTSU.
“We started a tradition here to honor our heroes, our family members, and their sacrifice,” Huber, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, told Howard. “This Gold Star brick will be placed at the Veterans Memorial in recognition of your loss of your son and the sacrifice of our heroes, our precious family members. God bless you.”
Howard’s son, James Van Howard, was killed while fighting in Vietnam in 1968 and is among the soldiers killed in action whose names are inscribed on the wall of the MTSU memorial. He was a former MTSU student.
“Thank you so much,” said Howard, searching for words. “That you for your service, all of our veterans.”
Also attending Thursday’s event was Howard’s other son, Carter “Corky” Howard, who also served in Vietnam at the same time as his brother.